The Black Horse, Frogmore Street



and some notes on the adjacent Red Lion

The Black Horse in 2012

The Black Horse public house in Tring underwent a major refurbishment at the end of 2011. In the place where there had originally been a doorway onto the road they have posted a brief history based only on census returns. (See right, click on image to enlarge.)


I decided that I would see how much information I could find using material easily available to me to demonstrate the kinds of information that can be used for a detailed study of a Victorian public house. Most of the information comes from a detailed study of census returns and trade directories. Additional information comes from Allan Whitaker's Brewers in Hertfordshire and Graham Jolliffe and Arthur Jones' Hertfordshire Inns and Public Houses. Other source are indicated where used.


I don't have access to the inclosure map of 1799 (there is a copy at HALS) or any estate maps held by the Rothschilds (as Lords of the Manor of Tring) but I have found three sources which unfortunately are a little ambiguous, but suggest that there could have been some buildings on the site, perhaps as early as the 18th century. In interpreting the evidence it should be realised that the Black Horse public house lies in a valley bottom immediately to the south of a steep slope.

The above map of 1719 (with north to the right) is from A History of Tring (and reproduced from Rothschild archives). Running across the middle of the maps is a road labelled Frogmore End with little house symbols along the edge of the road (not clear in the above). The most easterly house is shown in the north west corner of "Hill Close".

The Dury & Andrews 1766 Map of Hertfordshire is very informative. Here Frogmore Street is the road running due north and buildings are shown on both sides of the road north of the stream - which must have run along the valley bottom. If "Hill Close" was the close on the side of the hill both these maps seem to indicate that the were buildings at the foot of the slope, on the north side of the valley bottom, which is where the Black Horse now stands.

Painting of Tring Church and Frogmore Street

This early 19th century view is looking over Frogmore End towards the Church before the Victorian Rectory was built. It appears to show that the buildings in Frogmore End stop at the valley bottom, which could indicate that the buildings on the north side of the valley have all been demolished. However there are some perspective problems in the picture, which does not show that the church is on higher ground to Frogmore End, so a firm conclusion is not possible.


[See also The Washingtons of Tring]


The earliest trade directories and census returns either do not mention beer retailers, or if they do they fail to give the names. In addition the census images for 1841 and 1851 are very faint and hard to check.  This makes it difficult to identify properties - but fortunately the Black Horse was immediately next door to the Red Lion, whose landlord was William Price in 1851.


In the 1841 census Daniel Abraham, an agricultural labourer, and his 15 year old son James were recorded immediately after William Price, beer seller, and neither appear to have had any lodgers. There appears to be no major lodging house in the area.

The early Post Office Directories list the following public houses, etc, in Frogmore End of Frogmore Street


Thomas Clarke, tavernkeeper, George Inn

George Cutler, retail brewer

William Price, beer retailer, (Red Lion)

Samuel Stevens, beer retailer



John Amsden, beer retailer, shopkeeper, & plait & chip manufacturer

Alfred Chapman, beer retailer (Black Horse)

Mrs Clarke, George Inn,

James Liddington, beer retailer & hay & corn dealer

William Price, beer retailer (Red Lion)

In the 1851 census William Price, beer & lodging house keeper at the Red Lion had a long list of lodgers. Next door was the home of Alfred Chapman, a 34 year old beer and lodging house keeper. This was almost certainly the Black Horse.

The lodgers and the occupations (excluding wives and children) in the Black Horse were:


Caroline Bailey, vendor of matches

Thomas Clowes, collier

John Cooper, sailor

Matilda Cooper, dress maker

John Cutler, excavator

Joseph Devortor, itinerant musician from Italy

George Durrant, vendor of Watercress

William Holland, hawker of earthenware

Patrick Hynes, blacksmith from Ireland

Charles Johnson, grinder & sinker

Henry King, sawyer

John Mellirkey, hawker of door mats from Ireland

George Punshon, french polisher

At the same time Daniel Abraham, a 60 year old widower, and his son James (25) were agricultural labourers also living in Frogmore Street and had as a lodger, John Finney, a quilt winder for a canvas weaver. It was not immediately adjacent to the two lodging houses, and may be the same house that the Abrahams were living in ten years earlier.


Bearing in mind the number of lodgers, which suggests a house significantly bigger than the average dwelling in the Frogmore street area, it is possible that both the Red Lion and the Black Horse may have been new builds during the 1840s.

   It is interesting that two new lodging houses, of similar capacities, appeared in the 1840s. 


In 1855 both Alfred Chapman and William Price are listed as beer retailers in Frogmore Street.

In 1861 the census refers to the Black Horse Lodgings House, and 35 year old James Abraham was described as lodging house keeper and fellmonger (a dealer in animal skins). His lodgers (excluding wives) were:


Thomas Carrigan, dealer

George Carter, door mat maker

Samuel Coker, a parchment maker

Benjamin Cutler, agricultural labourer

William Evans, travelling hatter

John (Moresby or Martley)?, Cattle Drover

Thomas Putman, sawyer

John Strong, basket maker

John Taylor, agricultural labourer

William Thornton, shoe maker

William Wilkins, agricultural  labourer

In 1866 James Abraham was listed as a beer retailer in Frogmore Street.

In 1871 James was still at the Black Horse, and is now described as a lodgings house keeper and publican, with 13 lodgers. Next door the Red Lion was being run by John Saw, lodging house keeper and publican, whose daughter Eliza had married Charles Price. The long list of lodgers includes Elizabeth Leatherton, aged 102.

In 1881 the Black Horse, 27 Frogmore Street, was managed by 42 year old Edmund Collyer, described as a public and lodgings house keeper. His 21 lodgers included 4 hawkers, 3 shoemakers and a boot closer, a tanner, an iron moulder, a carpenter, a straw plaiter, a plumber, a sweep a brick layer, and a drover. Next door, at the Red Lion, John Saw's widow was publican & lodging house keeper, with another long list of lodgers.

In 1890 John Archer is listed as a beer retailer in Frogmore Street.

Prior to 1891 the Black Horse, Tring, had been owner by the Anchor Brewery, Hemel Hempstead, but in 1891 it was one of a number of public houses sold to T and J Nash of Chesham.

In 1891 it is described as the Black Horse Lodgings House, 27 Frogmore Street, and 55 year old John Archer was described as the beer house keeper. His lodgers included


Thomas Horton, agricultural labourer

Ellen Horton, silk throwster

William George Wells, general labourer

William Welsh, drover

James Brooks, hawker

James Senior, hawker

James Barnes, bricklayer

In 1895 John Archer is listed as a beer retailer in Frogmore Street.

In 1899 William Bristow is listed as a beer retailer in Frogmore Street.

In 1901 it is not named but William Bristow was Inn and Lodgings House Keeper at 27 Frogmore Street. His lodgers included several peddlers (hawkers), 2 needleworkers, several general labourers and a stone mason.

In 1911 it is referred to as The Black Horse Inn, 27 Frogmore Street, run by 51 year old William Bristow, an ex-policeman, publican and beer house keeper. Most of the tenants were general labourers, the others including:

Arthur Walters, groom

Nancy Clark, hawker

John Allibone, carman for builder

In 1912 William Bristow is listed as a beer retailer in Frogmore Street.

In 1946, as a result of a merger, the owning company became the Chesham & Brackley Breweries Ltd. Ten years later this brewery was taken over by Taylor Walker & Co Ltd., which later became part of Inde Coope.


In 1962 ownership of the Black Horse was transferred to Benskin's Watford Brewery (which was part of Inde Coope). The Red Lion was already a Benskin's pub, having been a Locke & Smith (Berkhamsted) public house before 1913. Clearly it did not make sense to have two adjacent pubs under the same management, and in the following year the Red Lion was demolished and the Black Horse was extended to take up part of the vacated site.


The Pub re-opened with a changed appearance under new management in November 2011 (Link).

January 2012   Page prepared but due to an error never linked up
December 2013   Page linked up to make it accessible.